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Greek Mythology > Essays > Introduction
Where do the Greek myths STOP? At what point in time can we assume that the essence of Greek mythology was lost? The decision as to when exactly the essence was lost is strictly arbitrary, but when I read Greek myths as told by the Roman, Ovid, circa 20 B.C.E., I get a little skeptical as to the depth of his insight... after all, he was a thousand years, a language and a culture away from the origins of the myths... all he could possibly tell us is how Romans viewed Greek mythology... this is important for the study of the Romans but not of the Greeks.
I don’t even trust the Classical Greeks to keep the stories straight... the Classical Period, Athenian Greece, beginning circa 502 B.C.E., was a time of cultural and artistic freedom. The Classical Greek writers and story tellers probably embellished the myths in a way that seemed proper to them but, after all, they were five hundred years away from the harsh and brutal foundations of Greek culture and myths.
For us to try to imagine the Olympians of The Iliad we must abandon the dramatic stories of the Classical Greeks and the flights of fancy of the Romans. To use them would be like losing your car keys in a dark alley and going down the block to look for them under the streetlight because the lights’ better. Even though the Classical Greek and Roman versions of the Ancient Greek myths outnumber the authentic texts I will try to, eventually, only list the oldest stories on these pages. I hope you enjoy my effort... Xavr
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